How to Choose the Right Interior Designer Degree Program Springville Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Springville AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you get the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you perform the proper research in order to assess and compare each program that you are considering before you make your ultimate choice. But just where do you start? Some future students will begin their research by searching for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are available.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The main difference between them is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Springville AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers often focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Springville AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to get the training required to launch your new career in Springville AL. Your selection will no doubt be influenced by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Classes
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Springville AL homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Studying online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For some students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make sure that the college you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Once you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Springville AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your options as well. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior design school and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Springville AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an excellent education, the Springville AL college you choose should also furnish the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the college has a sizable network of Springville AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Springville AL schools you are looking at and find out what type of support they provide. A number of interior design programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Springville AL programs you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Springville home, visit the school and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer college you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Springville AL, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose the Best Springville Interior Design College
Choosing the ideal interior design college is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging job no matter what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are many things to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. But it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Springville AL.